ANTIGONISH: Nat Krieger is really nervous.
Krieger, who is a StFX student, said she usually gets nervous standing in front of people, but as she addressed a crown of nearly 500 people, she indicated that’s not particularly what she’s nervous about.
“Today I’m nervous because the only reason that we’re breathing and the only reason that we know what it is to be alive is freaking out,” she said. “The water of this earth, the land, its air and soil is currently threatened and that means our future, our lives are threatened too.”
Krieger was among the nearly 500 people who flooded downtown Antigonish on Friday, bringing an urgency to the issue of global warming. StFX’s climate strike was part of a global series of marches to demand action on climate change and included StFX students, faculty, staff and community members of all ages.
“We are not going to find the answers to climate change through re-usable q-tips and straws,” Krieger said. “These are distractions from the answer; the answer is peace and friendship treaties.”
The crowd was dominated by youth and young adults; the individuals who will inherit the environmental disaster created by prior generations.
Many of the marchers had been inspired by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old, who’s fierce passion has sky-rocketed the global climate strike movement, and has quickly made Thunberg the face of the movement.
One of the organizers of the event, fourth-year sociology student David Eliot said they’re protesting for more climate action and want political leaders to listen and act on the science.
“Our leaders, when they’re making promises on the climate, they’re not being kept. We’re making it visible, making it known that people want to see change and people want real effective climate policy,” he said. “It’s amazing to see in the last year, people have really started coming out and realizing how dire the situation is. I think it’s a little shocking when it seems like we’re regularly getting new reports from the UN, or NASA, scientific agencies that don’t have a bias, or an agenda.”
Demonstrators were equipped with powerful messaging on signs and posters that read: “There is no Planet B,” “Fossil Era Over,” and “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”
The rally began outside Mulroney Hall, where the large group marched from campus to St. Ninian Street, onto College Street, then to Main Street, where they paused outside of Town Hall to vocalize demands, then continued onto Chisholm Park.
“I think people are just starting to finally wake up that things aren’t moving fast enough, and that this isn’t a game. It really has to be us here to rise up,” Eliot said. “We want governments to hold corporations responsible for what they’ve done and start making policy that will promote a better future for all of us; I think we have a moral duty to act, and that’s what today’s all about.”